Ban Sports Betting Apps – Reno Omokri Urges Tinubu

January 3, 2024
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Reno Omokri

Reno Omokri, the Nigerian author and social media influencer, has urged President Bola Tinubu to ban sports betting apps in the country.

According to Omokri, a ban on sports betting apps could even help improve the value of the Naira.

Omokri, who quoted the National Lottery Trust Fund. lamented that “$1 billion is spent on gambling daily in Nigeria.”

The media influencer expressed his views in a series of tweets shared via his X profile on Wednesday.

His tweet read, “President Tinubu can immediately improve the economic conditions of most Nigerians and make the Naira grow by issuing an Executive Order authorising the Nigerian Communications Commission to ban sports betting apps from the App Store of any GSM Internet Service Provider in Nigeria and revoking the licenses of any physical sports betting operators in Nigeria. It makes better sense than Buhari’s draconian #TwitterBan.”

The former Special Assistant to erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan stated that an average Nigerian spends “$15 daily on sports betting and other types of gambling.”

Omokri noted that despite the high rate of gambling in the country, the “vast majority of that amount” is leaving the shores of the country into foreign nations, compared to the nation’s externally generated revenue.

“This is scary. How much is our GDP that we are pissing it away like that? More money is leaving Nigeria through gambling than is coming in,” he wrote.

Omokri cautioned., “The Naira can never sustain its rally under such circumstances.”

The tweet stated further, “There is such an epidemic of gambling in Nigeria and it is destroying Nigerian youths. $1 billion is spent on gambling daily in Nigeria, according to the National Lottery Trust Fund. Please fact-check me.

“The average Nigerian spends $15 daily on sports betting and other types of gambling, with the vast majority of that amount leaving our economy and going to places like Russia, South Africa, and Europe. The Naira can never sustain its rally under such circumstances.”
Findings by PUNCH Online reveal that several sports betting firms operate in Nigeria. Some of the betting firms include Bet9ja, Nairabet, Merry Bet and SportyBet, amongst others.

Omokri, in his post, further urged Tinubu to “act on such a matter as threatening to our national security as this gambling epidemic.”

He also condemned the illegal means through which some Nigerian youths sought money “to fund their gambling habit.”

PUNCH Online reports that the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Zephaniah Jisalo, said the Federal Government would find a lasting solution to the friction caused by revenue generation in the gaming sector.

Jisalo noted that the FG “will do all within its statutory powers to ensure the gaming industry remains on the steady path of sustainable growth and development,” while speaking at the 2023 International Gaming Conference held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos State, on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

The Fund’s Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Bello Maigari, appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance on Monday, November 20, 2023, stated that the Fund, in 2023, generated N2.5 billion, noting however that the entire sum had been spent in the execution of various projects across the country.

The money, he said, was generated from statutory remittances from licenses and permit holders.

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